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Mark Elf: New York Cats (1998)

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Mark Elf: New York Cats No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

As is his way, guitarist Mark Elf uses his 1998 trio album New York Cats as an opportunity to pick from among the best in music and musicians to create an album of feline felicity. Known for corralling members of major label stables on past recordings, Elf works his magic this time with the help of regular live bandmates bassist Jay Leonhart (Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney) and drummer Dennis Mackrel (Slide Hampton, Joe Williams, Count Basie). Together, the trio combine original compositions and signature standards which sometimes blend into each other (e.g., "No More Blues" rings of "I Concentrate On You"). For the most part, Elf’s playing is impressively clean, with each note expressing itself succinctly. Of special note are his crystalline Tal Farlow-esque harmonics in the otherwise appropriately smoky "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and the fret-frying gibberish runs of a mildly edifying "Blues In The Night." Having played it at every live performance, Elf also takes this opportunity to lay down a syncopated "Stompin’ At The Savoy." A regular resident at the top of sales and radio charts, Elf is sure to keep his audiences lapping up the good vibes with this tail-wagging trio set.

Track Listing: 1. Brownie Speaks 2. Blues in the Night 3. From This Moment On 4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 5. No More Blues (Chega de Saudade) 6. Conflict 7. Stompin' at the Savoy 8. Heartfelt 9. Walker's Walk 10. Pemble's Tremble 11. Oh Lady Be Good 12. Blues for Jenny

Record Label: Jen Bay Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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